Bill Gates is proposing that new farming technologies can be used to solve world hunger.
With historic droughts, floods, and global supply chain issues plaguing nearly every country, food insecurity is rising rapidly. Things are so bad that the number of people facing acute hunger has reached 345 million. And that number reflects a 150% increase from before the pandemic. The number of people struggling worries experts, who are trying desperately to find a solution. Now Bill Gates is back in the news, with a new report claiming that his foundation has found the solution for ending world hunger.
On Tuesday, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation released a report suggesting that technological advancements are the way forward. It claimed that innovations in farming technology would be a vital step in resolving the world hunger crisis. And that research happens to have been conducted by the foundation for the last few years.
In the report, Bill Gates stressed the importance of developing “magic seeds.” Or, in other words, bio-engineered crops. The “magic seeds” will feature increased pest resistance and be more adaptable to impacts from climate change.
This recommendation is only the latest in a long line of agricultural research funded by The Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation. Over the last 15 years, the foundation has made news for giving over a billion dollars to efforts to eliminate world hunger. But Bill Gates’s focus on “magic seeds” and other engineered crops does not come without criticism.
Many strongly argue against his recommendations. One of the key complaints is that Bill Gates is furthering a reliance on fossil fuel-based fertilizer and pesticides when he focuses on large-scale agricultural endeavors. And this stands in stark contrast to the global efforts to protect the environment. However, according to Gates, solving the long-term problem of world hunger is the more pressing issue.
To back up this claim, Bill Gates points to the fact that many countries facing food crises cannot grow much of their own food. They have to import food to feed their growing populations. And with the impacts due to climate change, growing anything is becoming increasingly difficult. So, he is adamant that the solution for this and the broader problem of world hunger is bio-engineered seeds.
Additionally, critics make a strong argument in favor of a sense of urgency. Developing the “magic seeds” Bill Gates proposes will take time. Time that many around the world do not have. And, the proposal will not help achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. This set of goals for achieving global peace and prosperity has a deadline of 2030. With news of rising global hunger gracing headlines, it appears they may not meet that deadline.
Bill Gates is unfazed by the criticism he faces. He told the AP that, “If there’s some non-innovation solution, you know, like singing ‘Kumbaya,’ I’ll put money behind it. But if you don’t have those seeds, the numbers just don’t work.” He firmly believes that the answer to world hunger lies in technology. And in innovative new processes. He also plans to develop computer models that will map crop loss trends. That way, the “magic seeds” can be more targeted in nature.